‘Airspace’ may delay $40M sale of popular coastal pub
The sale of a popular Northern Rivers hotel could be delayed by a lease agreement with council for the use of a balcony.
The stunning views of Seven Mile Beach are one of the main features of the Lenox Hotel's restaurant, Beef + Beach Steak and Seafood Restaurant.
But the sought-after tables in the ample balcony are located in 'airspace' that the hotel owners lease from Ballina Shire Council.
The lease expired recently and it has been extended on a month-to-month basis.
But with confirmation of the hotel changing hands, council was asked to renew the lease for the sale to take effect on March 15.
Councillors disagreed with that idea. They want to see what a new valuation would mean in terms of the value of the lease.
A council spokeswoman confirmed the Lennox Head Hotel has had an ongoing lease for airspace in which a balcony at the restaurant is constructed.
"The purpose of the late item in the council agenda was to seek council's endorsement to finalise a new lease to enable the property to proceed to settlement," she said.
Council approved a motion on Thursday to seek a new lease over airspace adjoining the hotel,
to be granted to Maldew Pty Ltd, the current owner of the Lennox Point Hotel.
The lease will expire on November 14, 2025.
"The initial base rental to be determined by an independent external valuation. Consent is also sought to assign the new lease from Maldew Pty Ltd to SLl Freehold Pty. Ltd," the motion read.
Cr Phillip Meehan said the airspace rented to the company allows a large part of the restaurant to operate.
"There are not many sites (for a hotel) on the east coast of Australia that are oceanfront," he said.
"The business is a multimillion-dollar enterprise, and I don't now what sort of income the restaurant generates, but I guess it's quite significant.
"In my opinion, the current lease amount the comes to our community is woefully inadequate, and if that was based on a valuation from 2016, I'd like to see something very different in 2021."
Council's general manager, Paul Hickey, said council may be able to get an external evaluation done and an extraordinary meeting of council could be completed before the March 15 date.
The motion passed with votes by councillors Wright, Parry, Johnston, McCarthy, Williams, Cadwallader and Smith. Cr Meehan voted against it. Cr Johnson and Willis were absent.